Spain

    Guidance

    1.1 Has any guidance already been issued in relation to Brexit, for example on residence or work permits in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

    The Spanish government has set up a website offering guidance to citizens and companies: http://www.lamoncloa.gob.es/lang/en/brexit/Paginas/index.aspx

    In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the Spanish Government has announced contingency plans in Royal Decree-Law 5/2019 of 1 March.

    Residence and work for UK nationals and their dependents resident in Spain

    Documentation procedure for UK nationals and their dependents 

    A documentation procedure has been established for UK nationals and their third-country national family members residing in Spain prior the date of withdrawal.

    The procedure is laid down in the instructions adopted for this purpose by the Council of Ministers on the 22 March 2019 and published on 26 March in the Spanish Official Gazette.

    UK nationals resident in Spain prior to Brexit who hold an EU registration certificate

    Holders of EU certificates issued within five years of Brexit

    • Procedure: apply for a Foreigner’s Identity Card, which will indicate state ‘Temporary work and residence permit for a UK national’.
    • Deadline to submit the application: 21 months from the withdrawal date.
    • Validity of the Foreigner’s Identity Card: up to five years, depending on the time left (calculated from the date the EU registration certificate was granted).  

    Holders of EU certificates issued more than five years before Brexit

    • Procedure: apply for a Long-term Residence Permit.
    • Deadline to submit the application: 21 months from the withdrawal date.

    UK nationals resident in Spain prior to Brexit who do not hold an EU registration certificate

    • Procedure: Apply for temporary work and residence permit.
    • Apply for a Foreigner’s Identity Card within a month of approval of the residence permit.
    • Requirements: proof of residence in Spain prior to withdrawal, economic resources, either public or private health coverage, with the same scope as is provided by the Spanish healthcare system.
    • Deadline to submit the application: 21 months from the withdrawal date.
    • Deadline for consideration of the application: three months, after this, the application is considered rejected.
    • Purpose of the application: evidence of application will be a sufficient proof of legal status in Spain until delivery of the Foreigner’s Identity Card.
    • Validity: up to five years, depending on the time left, which will be calculated from the start date of residence as evidenced by the foreign national.     

    Dependents of UK nationals resident in Spain before Brexit

    Dependents of UK nationals who hold a Spanish ‘EU dependent’ residence card

    • Procedure: apply for a Foreigner’s Identity Card, which will state ‘Temporary work and residence permit for dependent of a UK national’
    • Deadline to submit the application: 21 months from the withdrawal date.
    • Validity of the Foreigner’s Identity Card: the same as granted to the UK national.

    Dependents of UK nationals who do not hold a Spanish ‘EU dependent’ residence card

    • Procedure: apply for a temporary work and residence permit as a dependent of a UK national.
    • Apply for a Foreigner’s Identity Card within a month from approval of the residence and work permit.
    • Requirements: proof of residence in Spain before Brexit, family ties, economic resources, either public or private health coverage, with the same scope as is provided by the Spanish healthcare system.
    • Deadline to submit the application: 21 months starting from the withdrawal date.
    • Deadline for consideration of the application: three months, otherwise, the application is considered rejected.
    • Purpose of the application: the application constitutes sufficient proof of regular or legal status in Spain until the delivery of the Foreigner’s Identity Card.
    • Validity: up to five years, depending on the time left, which will be calculated from the start date of residence as evidenced by the foreign national.    

    Proof of residence status before Brexit

    EU nationals’ EU registration certificate as well as EU national’s dependents’ residence cards are evidence of residence status. If these documents are not available, any other proof allowed by the law can be evidence of the required residence status and it will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

    Application deadline for documents relating to the new residence status

    Applicants have  21 months after a no-deal Brexit to submit an application for documents relating to their new status.

    Immigration status during the procedure 

    Until replaced by new documents or until they expire, EU registration certificates for EU nationals as well as EU nationals’ dependents’ residence cards will be valid and evidence of legal residence status in Spain.

    Documentation

    During the documentation procedure, periods of residence in Spain will be taken into consideration as well as, where appropriate, the individual’s residence under a Community scheme.

    Holders of an EU registration certificate and holders of a residence card as dependents of an EU national must apply for these to be replaced by an Foreigners Identity Card.

    UK nationals and their third-country national family members who do not hold an EU registration certificate or residence card as dependents of an EU national must submit an application along with supporting documents as required, and if approved, apply for a Foreigners Identity Card.

    Long-term residence

    Holders of a long-term EU registration certificate and a long-term residence card as dependents of an EU national shall be able to apply directly for a Long-term Residence Permit for foreigners.

    UK nationals and their third-country national family members (even if they do not hold a long-term registration certificate or a long-term residence card as a dependent of an EU national) who have resided continuously in Spain for five years can apply for a Long-term Residence Permit under the provisions set out in article 32 of the Organic Act 4/2000.

    Cross-border workers

    UK nationals residing outside Spain whom have the status of cross-border workers, either as employees or self-employed individuals, at the withdrawal date must apply for documentation certifying their status based on the procedure to be set forth in decisions to be adopted by the Council of Ministers.

    During the application and processing of documentation, UK nationals may continue their work or professional activity.

    These measures will be maintained, provided there is a reciprocal action by UK.

    Once instructions are established by the Council of Ministers, further information will be provided.

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    Business visas

    2.1 When UK employees become third-country nationals will they require a business visa?

    No, Regulation (EU) 2019/592 of 10 April 2019 exempts UK citizens from the requirement for a Schengen visa. It will apply from the day the UK is no longer subject to EU law. When it takes effect, UK citizens will be able to enter and stay in the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days in any rolling 180-day period.

    The Schengen exemption will apply:

    • from Brexit date in the event of no deal;
    • from 1 January 2021 if the Withdrawal Agreement (‘WA’) is ratified (under the WA, UK nationals keep their EU free movement rights until 31 December 2020).

    However, even if allowed to enter and stay visa-free, they will nonetheless need a residence or work permit to work in Spain (unless a specific exemption is agreed). In Spain, business visitors must generally limit their activities to the following:

    • attending business meetings or discussions;
    • attending seminars or ‘fact-finding’ meetings;
    • attending conferences.

    In addition to the above, if the purpose of the visit is to acquire knowledge about client needs, through industrial, commercial meetings or meetings related to those client needs, without being part of the productive activity of the company in Spain, a work permit should not be needed (the source of salary must be from abroad: country of employment).

    If a business trip, even if it is very brief, involves activities other than those outlined above, a work permit will typically be required. Additionally, even when activities are limited to those listed above, if the foreign national will generate profit for the host entity, receive compensation from the host entity, or take direction from the host entity, a work permit may be required.

    2.2 What documentation will be required for business travel on arrival at the border once UK citizens are considered third-country nationals?

    Travel documents (valid passport) with a validity of less than ten years.

    Proof of duration and purpose of stay as border control may ask additional questions concerning duration and purpose of stay (i.e. an invitation letter from the company in Spain)

    They will also need to be able to provide evidence of sufficient economic means, accommodation and return flight tickets.

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    Permission to work

    3.1 When UK citizens become third-country nationals will they need permission to work?   

    Yes, unless they can rely on an exemption such as:

    • business trips as described before;
    • family members of an EU national or a non-EU national who has authorisation to work (subject to conditions);
    • holders of a Long-Term Residence Permit in Spain;
    • Van Der Elst exemption’ (subject to conditions).

    3.2 If permission to work is needed do any quotas apply for employing third-country nationals?

    No, Spain does not apply quotas.

    3.3 If permission to work is needed, as of when will it be needed?

    Current status:

    • from 31 October 2019 in the event of no deal or no delay on Brexit;
    • from 1 January 2021 (for new arrivals) if the Withdrawal Agreement is ratified before 30 March 2019.

    3.4 If permission to work is needed, what are the most common categories?

    The most common categories will be:

    • highly skilled employees: Bachelor’s degree and annual remuneration according to the job position;
    • intra-company transfer (payroll and Social Security paid in UK): Bachelor’s Degree or experience of more than three years in the field plus three months’ seniority with the sending entity or sending group (2019).

    3.5 If permission to stay or work is needed, how long does the procedure take?

    20 business days for the residence permit plus ten business days for the visa process

    3.6 If permission to work or stay is needed, what Government fees would be due for this permission?

    For both residence permits (allowing holders to work): EUR 71.81

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    Permanent residence

    4.1 From when can third-country nationals obtain permanent residence?

    Third-country nationals are eligible for Long-Term Residence after five years of legal, continuous residence in Spain. This can be renewed every five years.

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    Residence Status

    5.1 What steps could UK nationals still take to secure their residence status?

    If UK nationals living in Spain have not done so yet, they must register as citizens of the EU resident in Spain. Please note that there is a scarcity of appointments and in towns such as Madrid.

    Until the UK's withdrawal, they will continue to be EU citizens, and as such, if they want to reside for more than three months in Spain, they must register at the Central Registry of Foreigners, where a certificate of registration will be issued immediately.

    This procedure will allow them to obtain a registration certificate. This will be very useful following the date of the UK's withdrawal in either of the two scenarios.

    In the event the corresponding EU Certificate is not obtained as indicated, UK nationals can prove their previous residence in Spain by other means. Their application will be analysed on a case-by-case basis. 

    Furthermore, they can take the following actions:

    • register their marriages if they are married to a national of an EU country in which marriage registration is compulsory;
    • apply for the Spanish Nationality if they comply with the legal conditions;
    • Apply for EU Permanent Residency if they have lived in Spain for more than five years.
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